Pablo Cardenas’ Trio will perform at the Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre on Nov. 2. (Photo courtesy of Pablo Cardenas)

Tofino’s West Coast Winter Music series warms hearts

Kicking off their 20th anniversary celebration is Pablo Cardenas’ Trio on Nov. 2.

ERIN LINN MCMULLAN

Special to the Westerly

Tofino’s West Coast Winter Music series has been warming winter hearts for two decades now.

Kicking off their 20th anniversary celebration is Pablo Cardenas’ Trio on Nov. 2 at Clayoquot Sound Community Theatre.

Cardenas describes their music as “full of flavour, deepness, intensity, sensitivity, but also happiness and variety, a fusion of styles,” and including original compositions. “People are usually very excited about the music I play from Cuba, the Latin Jazz and Afro-Cuban material, so I will have some of that too.”

“This show will be a combination of all my different sides as a musician,” he explains, “some Classical arranged to Jazz, some Cuban, Brazilian music and a few other surprises. Having two great musicians accompanying me (Louis Rudner on bass and Kelby MacNayr on drums) helps me a lot to bring more variety.”

Cardenas, a prodigy who began playing at age five while growing up in Cuba, cites three pianists as primary influences − Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Keith Jarret − along with others “like Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans, Gonzalito Rubalcaba.” He is also impacted by music from folklore of various countries, regardless if they are made for piano or not.

His favourite career moments include “playing at Amadeo Roldán Theatre in Havana, and also at the Theatre of the Conservatory of Music of Santo Domingo in Dominican Republic, but I would say that Hermann’s Jazz Club in Victoria, it has been something really special because of the great audience that attend there always to see me every month.”

While keeping certain iconic New York venues in his sights, he also enjoys “the road to a higher development wherever it takes me. Being on the road to somewhere is my main purpose more than the place I get to arrive.”

Honoured to help launch the 20th season, he says of Tofino: “I feel it is a special place and people appreciate art a lot when they live surrounded of nature, where life is a bit more simple and real.”

“Most performers are delighted to play in our lovely little theatre,” says Judi Andrew, who has been involved with the series since its inception. “Many of our audience have been supporting this series for the whole 20 years.”

The idea for the series was sparked by a conversation between George Patterson and Tom Esakin, a former fundraiser for Vancouver Symphony, well connected with musicians. Originally hosted at Darwin’s Café, it focused on classical chamber music before moving to the community theatre in 2008 and evolving to embrace more diverse high-quality musical performance. This season’s musical treats range from autumn jazz with Cardenas and with singer Edie Daponte’s Quartet (November 30); to a new twist on its roots in the New Year from classical to next-generation chamber music with Trio D’Argento (Jan. 25) and Cascadia Reed Quintet (Feb. 22); with a spring finale showcasing Sonic Escape’s imaginative flute and violin duo (March 21).

“West Coast Winter Music offers a way for people to enjoy really quality entertainment without having to leave town in those dark winter months,” points out emcee Eileen Floody.

District of Tofino and BC Touring Arts Council help support the series, along with in-kind donations from local accommodation providers.

The non-profit society also partners with local schools to bring music to students from guitar lessons to youth choir − funded by BC Touring Arts Council’s Mentorship and Youth Engagement (MYE) program.

“Really, it has been 20 years of fabulous live music thanks to our volunteers and supportive community,” effuses Andrew.

Planning for their 21st season begins in November amidst the celebration.

Visit West Coast Winter Music on Facebook for their 20th season schedule. Season’s subscriptions can be booked ($100) by messaging westcoastwintermusic@gmail.com; single tickets ($25) purchased through Octopus Events before each concert.

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